An internal review of the River Rock Casino in Richmond, British Columbia found that housewives and students collectively bet more than $16 million in one year, prompting B.C. Attorney-General David Eby to launch more investigations to uncover the source and find where and how millions of dollars are being funnelled into the River Rock Casino.
Len Meilleur, the B.C. Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch compliance director filed an internal review in August 2016. The review questions as to where the funding of many casino patrons come from and whether a money laundering scheme is taking place under their radar.
Is Drug Money Being Washed?
One of the possible schemes that the anti-money laundering investigators investigated is called “colouring up,” where gamblers deposit large amounts of money in $20 denominations in casinos, place a few bets and then convert their chips and walk out with new wads of $100 bills that can now be used for banking and investments. The money laundering of $20 bills has been linked in the past to “drug cash”.
The confidential memo examined a total of $243 million in cash buy-ins made at the River Rock Casino in 2015 and studied the background and income sources of 800 high-rollers. The gaming auditor wanted to find out whether the income bracket of the declared job of the patron matches the kind of money which they end up spending inside the casino.
Red Flag As Housewives And Students Spending Millions
Results revealed that people working in the real estate industry bet the highest amount of money in River Rock. They found that 135 VIP patrons working in real estate spent a sum of $53 million inside the casino, some spending over $1 million in cash buy-ins in a single year. Out of the $53 million, 41 percent of the transactions were flagged as unusual because of incredibly large cash buy-ins, chip purchases made using heaps of small currency bills, and the passing of chips and currency between gamblers.
Second on the list of the biggest spenders inside the casino were business owners, spending $38.5 million in cash buy-ins. Those in the construction industry placed third, with 56 patrons spending some $33.8 million in cash.
One of the biggest red flags in the review was the number of patrons who identified themselves as housewives and students and went on to spend large sums of money inside the casino. There were 75 patrons who listed “housewife” as their primary occupation. Their segment ranked 6th in the list and spent a total of $14.3 million in cash at the River Rock VIP betting rooms. The review found that three women deposited over $1 million in cash during a 12 month period, nine women cashed in over $500,000, and 42 other women were involved in 126 financial transactions deemed unusual.
There were 36 patrons who identified themselves as students and collectively placed a total of $2.3 million in bets. One of the cases that stood out was one student in particular who was able to spend $819,000 in a single year.
In a statement, Eby said, “The conspicuous thing about students and housewives is that these are groups of people who don’t have any source of income. So for people who don’t have any apparent source of income showing up and playing with large amounts of cash, it seems to me this should have been a red flag.”
A huge chunk of the patrons that were included in the high-roller segment come from China and have listed Chinese companies whose names were roughly translated from Chinese characters to English. Because of this, the auditor found it hard to track down the legitimacy of the Chinese companies and the positions stated.
New Regulations Being Put In Place
Eby brought in new regulations designed to crack down on these suspicious activities and possible money laundering schemes. The new rule reinforces the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC)’s role in reporting suspicious transactions and mandates all casinos to enforce a “source of funds declaration” for all patrons who make cash deposits or bearer bonds of $10,000 or more.
Under the new declaration system, based on the recommendations of state-commissioned independent expert Peter German, all sources of funds must be stated by the patron, including the financial institution and account where the money is located or going to. After two consecutive transactions, the British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC) will have to review the information submitted by the patron before he is allowed to make any more transactions. The exact system of the verification process is yet to be ironed out but German is expected to complete his report by March.

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For nearly two decades, we’ve provided the best in class for poker site reviews, top online poker bonuses, strategy tips, poker news, and exclusive free poker content.  Consisting of a team of poker and gambling experts, we deliver the best online poker brand experience for players of all levels, from the fish to the sharks.